We’re turning our attention to John’s Gospel and how John views being a Jesus follower. Over the next 4-6 weeks, we’ll look at different passages from John to explore what it means to be a disciple.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? …Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:1-9, 12
Jesus Gathers is Followers
Jesus is gathering his followers together for a meeting. You know what those meetings are like. You call the family together each member gathers around the table in the kitchen or finds a seat in the family room for the discussion.
Or, you take advantage of the opportunity to gather a few close friends together to discuss health, family, or business concerns. Or, it is time for the regular staff meeting at work, the staff members gather in the meeting room for the briefing or planning. Whether it is family, friends, or business, each group consists of special people needed for the conversation.
Essentially, that is what Jesus is doing. He has taken advantage of the opportunity to gather his followers together to prepare them for his leaving. As you might guess, they are confused and are asking questions. “We don’t know where you are going or how you are going to get thee. We don’t understand anything you are saying. Just show us God and we will be satisfied. We don’t know what you are talking about. We don’t like all of this.”
Imagine for a Moment
Imagine children playing on the floor and their parents are putting on coats to leave. When the children see that their parents are leaving, they begin to ask questions. “Where are you going?” “Can we go?” “Who is going to stay with us.”
John answers those questions.
- Question: “Where are you going?” Answer: “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now;
- Question: “Can we go?” Answer: “…you will follow afterward.”
- Question: “Who will stay with us?” Answer: “I will not leave you orphaned…I will send the Spirit.”
Jesus speaks with sincerity and honesty. As he gathers his disciples together with him in that upper room, he knows the end is near, that the cross awaits him, and what his followers need to hear. That is why he says things like, “love one another as I have loved you,” “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” and “as the Father sent me, so I send you.”
With that in mind, we can learn more about who God created us to be as we reflect and respond to the scripture.
For the remainder of our exploration of John, we’ll follow the pattern of Read, Reflect, Respond, and Return as one way of focusing upon the scripture.
Using John as our guide, let’s get started.
John 1:1-5, 14
The Good News in John is this: If you have seen Jesus you have seen God.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (1:14). When Christians are asked what God is like, they point to Jesus, the “human face of God.” This knowledge of God is not a matter of human attainment or achievement. We know God because God has revealed God’s self in Jesus, who is identified with God.
And lived among us (1:14). The word “lived” means “tented” or pitched his tent with us. The word is closely related to words like “tabernacle” and “temple”. The implication is that God came to live among God’s people. John wants us to know that what the tabernacle and temple stood for is now fully represented by Jesus the Christ and his community, the church, the new temple.
So, what does this mean for us? The living presence of God has come to be with us in Jesus. God has become a human being and moved into our neighborhood. This truth gives a fresh new meaning to love your neighbor.
Keep your eyes, heart, and mind open to see God today. Where might you see God?
How will the Word become flesh today? How will the Word become flesh in you today? Pay attention to the people around you. Be vulnerable. Smile and speak to people. What difference does your interaction make in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors?
Return: Reflect upon the scripture and your interactions of the day.
- How did the Word become flesh for you today?
O God, thank you for coming to me in Jesus and for revealing yourself in the people around me today. Thank you for giving me direction in living this life. I am especially grateful that you are helping me become more who you created me to be. Help me focus my eyes more upon Jesus, so I may recognize you more often in the people I meet along the way. Amen.